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Bill Gates has been scouting for farmland to help save the environment — aboard one of the world’s worst-polluting forms of transportation.
On the eve of his appearance at the United Nations climate summit in Scotland, the billionaire philanthropist commandeered two lavish superyachts for a luxury trip along the Turkish coastline that saw him celebrating his birthday and shopping for “hundreds of acres of farmland,” a source told The Post. “He wants to create a large sustainable farm in Turkey” for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the $50 billion charity he runs with his former wife.
Gates, who turned 66 on Thursday at a beachfront party that included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, pledged $315 million at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Tuesday to help farmers develop crops that are resistant to climate change.
Gates said the money his nonprofit pledged at Glasgow will go to a seed consortium that will help farmers adapt to changing climate patterns.
“Unless smallholder farmers can adapt to climate change, we will lose the global battle against hunger and poverty,” he tweeted Tuesday.
But Gates set off on his environmental crusade aboard a superyacht, which environmentalists say are among the world’s worst ecological offenders. According to Turkish news reports, he sailed the azure waters of the Aegean on LANA, a 354-foot yacht described as “one of the most luxurious superyachts in the world.” The boat includes eight staterooms, a golf range, a cinema room, a pool and massage rooms. It accommodates 12 guests and 31 crew members, and rents for more than $2 million a week, according to a Monaco-based yacht rental service.
LANA was followed by the Wayfinder — a 223-foot luxury “supply boat” that is believed to be owned by the billionaire and was used to house his 30 bodyguards for the weeklong trip, according to Turkish news reports.
A representative for Gates did not reply to requests for comment.
“A superyacht with a permanent crew, helicopter pad, submarines and pools emits about 7,020 tons of CO2 a year … making it by far the worst asset to own from an environmental standpoint,” wrote climate experts Richard Wilk and Beatriz Barros at the University of Indiana’s Department of Anthropology. Wilk told The Post that the average person’s CO2 emissions in a year are between 5 and 10 tons.
“Gates has publicly admitted that he’s a hypocrite on climate change,” said Wilk. “On the one hand, he’s been doing a lot of outreach on the state of the world, but then [his actions show] he’s not going to give up his lifestyle. It’s a real contradiction.”
Last week, Gates reserved the Sea Me Beach restaurant in the Aegean port city of Fethiye, Turkey, where guests arrived by helicopter and speedboats for the four-hour event, according to Turkish media reports.
Bezos, the second-richest man in the world with a net worth of nearly $200 billion, logged a 120-mile flight to reach the party. He later took a private jet to Glasgow, where he pledged $2 billion to nature conservation and transforming food systems Tuesday.
Gates had hosted 50 birthday-bash guests who dined on sushi and pizza and sipped champagne overlooking the Aegean.
“Gates started in [the resort town of] Bodrum before hopping from bay to bay,” according to an article in the Daily Sabah. He celebrated his birthday Thursday and also visited Izmir, where he took in the sights, visiting the ancient city of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary, a Catholic shrine where the mother of Jesus is said to have spent her final years.
It was Gates’ second visit to the country in four months, according to the Turkish newspaper, as he has been scouting business and philanthropic opportunities. He already owns 22,000 acres (34 square miles) near Thrace in western Turkey, according to local news reports.
Gates, who finalized his divorce from Melinda Gates, his wife of 27 years, in August, left for Turkey shortly after celebrating his eldest daughter’s wedding in Westchester last month. Jennifer Gates, 25, who is in medical school in New York City, posted a tribute and a photo from her lavish nuptials on Instagram on her father’s birthday last Thursday.
“Grateful to learn from your example of endless curiosity, constant exploration and desire to help humanity. Excited to hear about what you learn in this next turn around the sun,” she said. “Thank you for your support for our union and dream day recently —these memories will last a lifetime 🤍 Xx Jenn.”